Do you know what "thrifting" means?
A book I can't wait to read is Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel [Thames & Hudson £28].
Strangely, considering my interest in fashion, I had never heard of Iris Apfel until Heather Hodson wrote an article about her for a recent issue of Telegraph Magazine.
"Iris Apfel's idiosyncratic, exotic style has for decades been an inspiration to those who dare to be different. Now, at 85, her unique collection of clothes has been brought together in a remarkable book."
At a magazine called Panache, we read -
"Iris Apfel is co-founder of the international textile company Old World Weavers and an authority on antique fabrics. Eric Boman is a highly acclaimed fashion photographer, whose work has been featured in Vogue, Vanity Fair, The World of Interiors, and others.
With remarkable panache and discernment, Iris Apfel combines styles, colors, textures, and patterns without regard to period, provenance, or aesthetic conventions. Now in her mid-eighties, she is a unique style icon.
Over ninety sumptuous color plates, photographed by Eric Boman, show off a selection of Apfel's extraordinary outfits on wittily posed mannequins, some sporting her trademark outsized spectacles. The originality of her style is typically revealed in her mixing of Dior haute couture with flea-market finds, Dolce & Gabbana lizard trousers with nineteenth-century ecclesiastical vestments, pink Lanvin worn with ropes of Navajo turquoise. Apfel's eclectic pieces might come from a Parisian couture house, an American thrift shop, or a North African souk, or they may have been made to her own design in a tiny studio.
Detailed captions describe every aspect of the outfits, including names and dates of designers, plus full information on fabrics and accessories. A selection of audacious accessories also comes under the spotlight: a giant necklace made of bear claws, a turn-of-the-century Indian horse ornament worn as a necklace, a parrot's-head brooch in colored glass and rhinestones.
The book includes an introduction by Harold Koda, director of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and an essay by Apfel herself, describing her lifelong love affair with style and illustrated with vintage photographs from her personal collection. 169 illustrations, 149 in color. "
In her Telegraph piece, Heather Hodson writes –
"Encouraged by her mother to bargain-hunt, by 12 she was trawling discount stores, antique shops and fleamarkets for shoes, objects d'art and anything beautiful that caught her eye. This knack for thrifting has remained with her – she never pays full price for anything – and goes some way to explaining her eclectic approach to dressing."
I didn't start thrifting as early in life as Iris Apfel. For me the break-through came in my early thirties. But how that came about is too long a story to tell here.
Thames & Hudson's website
Did you know the origin of the name of this publishing house? I didn't.
"Thames & Hudson was founded in 1949 by Walter and Eva Neurath. Their passion and mission for T&H was that its books should reveal the world of art to the general public, to create a ‘museum without walls’ and to make accessible to a broad, non-specialist reading public, at prices it could afford, the research and the findings of top scholars and academics.
To capture the essence of this international concept, the name for the company linked the rivers flowing through London and New York (although Walter later admitted he could have chosen at least six other rivers for the name!). "
I was not impressed by the T&H website. The text is on the small side and not adjustable by visitors. Also all the information is on the left side of the screen leaving a cold white space on the right. The text below the Next button at the bottom of each screen is unreadable unless "selected". In the absence of a designer's name, I conclude the site is an in-house job.